February 18th, 2009

Chris Keeley

Ray Close

To: undisclosed-recipients

This is a harsh criticism of U.S.military strategy in Afghanistan, written by well-known military columnist and retired army officer Ralph Peters.  The points he makes are controversial.  Some of his statements are shocking. But his basic point needs to be taken seriously into consideration by all of us who are evaluating U.S. policy in that region.

To me, it seems absolutely incomprehensible that any military commander could even contemplate substantially enlarging his commitment to a major military conflict on the other side of the world before he has established secure and reliable lines of supply and reinforcement, and a secure exit route if strategic conditions make withdrawal necessary. That was a simple rule that I think I was taught in the first week of MIlitary Science 101 when I started my ROTC course as a college freshman 62 years ago!

Ralph Peters
February 17, 2009

THE 36,000 US troops in Afghanistan are prisoners of war. They're still armed and fighting. But their fate lies in Pakistan's hands, not ours.

It's time to rethink our nonstrategy in Kabul. We got our initial actions right in the autumn of 2001, slaughtering terrorists, toppling the Taliban and empowering would-be allies. But we've been getting it wrong every year since.

We're now on the verge of
doubling our troop commitment to a mismanaged war that lacks sane goals and teeters toward inanity. And we're putting our troops at the mercy of one of the world's most-corrupt states - Pakistan - which has cut a deal with extremists to enforce Sharia law a short drive from the capital.

After taking apart al Qaeda's base network and punishing the Taliban, we should have left the smoking ruins. This should have been a classic punitive expedition: We're
not obliged to rehabilitate foreign murderers.
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